Mar 3 2007

Inexplicable Tongue-Lashing

[Note: This piece is a sidebar to Back to the Future in Nicaragua.]

A New York Times “Week in Review” piece by Warren Hoge (9/24/06), in the wake of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s criticisms of George W. Bush at the United Nations, recalled other U.N. speeches critical of Washington, including a 1987 speech by Nicaragua’s then-President Daniel Ortega “denouncing Mr. Reagan’s decision to continue financing Contras fighting his Sandinista regime” and saying “Rambo only exists in the movies.”

Hoge was compelled to ask, “Why has the United States come in for such tongue lashings?” Among his answers: Reagan-era U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick’s theory that “countries attacking the United States covered up their own misdeeds by…accusing the United States of committing crimes that they in fact had perpetrated,” and another U.S. representative’s dismissal of Ortega’s comments as “typical revolutionary babble.”

The idea that trying to violently overthrow the elected government of another country might provoke hostile feelings in that government seemed to be too simplistic an answer for Hoge to consider.